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Downtown Trolley Important To This Downtown Resident

March 4, 2011 Downtown, Public Transit 4 Comments

The (#99) Downtown Trolley has become, for me, an important part of downtown. Yesterday I had to go to the Millennium Hotel on 4th Street for an Affordable Housing Conference.  Sure, it is a regular bus with a unique exterior wrap but the frequency & route are why I use it regularly.

ABOVE: Downtown Trolley at Broadway & Market with the Old Courthouse in background
ABOVE: Downtown Trolley at Broadway & Market with the Old Courthouse in background

As a downtown (west) resident I could have “walked” since I have a power chair. But Google Maps says the distance is 1.4 miles via a direct route. That distance in the chair is no big deal, it has plenty of power for the round trip.

Just like physically walking that distance, it becomes exhausting dealing with the number of intersections to cross.

The Downtown Trolley has a limited fixed route that covers much of downtown, but not all. I had to go a few blocks from my loft to catch the trolley and another few to reach my final destination. Still, I was able to do about a mile of my journey on the trolley.

Studies show people are generally willing to walk about a quarter of a mile but anything beyond that those willing to walk drops off dramatically.Returning home at the end of the day it was a nice evening and I had stop to make so I skipped the trolley entirely.

– Steve Patterson


Currently there are "4 comments" on this Article:

  1. Tpekren says:

    This seems to be a good reason to introduce a Downtown Transportation Development District to first and foremost provide free transit outright in the downtown loop and support a fixed transit loop.

    • JZ71 says:

      Socialism for loft dwellers?!

      • Tpekren says:

        Hey, TDD's in Maplewood and Brentwood give you Warlmart and Target parking lots. So this socialism can't be any worse

        • JZ71 says:

          Actually, I should have said welfare, not socialism, but my point remains, your proposal for “free” transit downtown appears to be in direct response to Steve's liking the frequent service the 99 Downtown Trolley offers. I like the idea of a fequent, compact route, as well. What I'm trying to clarify is WHY it should be “free”? Other than the fact that we all like “free” or getting a better deal than someone else? Suburban TDD's meet a defined, albeit flawed “need” for more sales taxes. Can “we” define and quantify the benefits that adding a new tax downtown would generate?

          I'm pushing this because I know how the argument was made and successfully implemented in Denver, where their 16th Street Mall Shuttle is both “free” and highly patronized. Public transit (Metro here, RTD there) is already highly subsidized by the taxpayers. What Denver figured out is that buses wasted a lot of time circulating through downtown, and that by building transfer facilities on either end of downtown, connected by a frequent shuttle service, they could improve the overall efficiency of their system, actually saving money.

          St. Louis used to have a version of this with “free” service on Metrolink downtown, but this was eliminated to “increase revenue”. We also have a good start with the transfer center near Scottrade, we just need another one on the other side of downtown. (I've always thought that the surface parking lot on the same block of the Missouri Athletic Club would be ideal.) But what it all boils down to is numbers, of both riders and dollars.

          Most workers downtown drive, and many of their parking spaces are also publicly subsidized. The arguments then become can a TDD make transit more attractive and what/how much more will it cost? Eat at a restaurant in St. Louis now, and you already get hit with a higher, 10%, sales tax than you do in the 'burbs. At some point, it could become just too expensive to come downtown. Money is finite, for both individuals and governmental entities, and there is no such thing as “free”, just something someone else is paying for!


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